Major Giveaway Going On At The Crafty Branch!

Creative Business

Good morning, friends!

Most of you know I started a craft kit business last fall–I’ve mentioned it a few times in passing–and this week we’re hosting a rather massive giveaway on the new The Crafty Branch Blog with more than $350 in prizes.

Hemiversary Giveaway (1)

Clicking the image above will take you to the post with all the details and the amazingly long list of items included in the grand prize, plus the other four prizes up for grabs. You’ve got all week to enter, until noon (EST) on February 24, 2016, and I really encourage anyone who loves crafting and craft supplies to enter.

It’s true that I started the kit business after my plans to open a brick & mortar shop didn’t pan out, it was my “Plan C” this time last year, but it’s a little more than that, now. After six months of putting together kits (5 so far) I’ve learned a lot, both about the vagaries of this sort of business and about myself as well, about what I’m capable of, the parts I like and maybe the parts I’d outsource if I could. Maybe one day, depending on how things go, you never know!

It all comes down, though, to helping people be more creative. Or, more to the point, helping people access their own, innate creativity. I still believe we all are creative beings, and I still believe you can do a lot with just the stuff around you, but more and more I come to realize that the “fancy” tools and supplies out there exist not merely because someone figured out a way to market them but because, by and large, they work incredibly well! And that, while I can get by with the stuff I have on hand or can pick up here and there for cheap, investing in good tools and supplies is worth it because they will take you farther.

So when I put the Creative Mischief Kits together, I’m striving for a good mix of basics and high end. For brands we recognize and suppliers we might never have heard of. For the tools that get us started as well as those that can take us farther, beyond the scope of the kit and that will last for a good long while. Granted, that also means that our headliner kits are not the inexpensive things you find in the craft store or your local big box. Maybe we’ll come out with some smaller kits in the future, I’m still noodling around on it, but for now, the Creative Mischief kits are there for people who want to discover a new technique or hobby but don’t want to have to search out all the bits and pieces on their own. They offer convenience , wrapped up in gold tissue paper and a paper twist bow.

The giveaway that’s running right now gives you a chance to win favorites from our kits so far–both tools and supplies–plus some original art. If you’ve been curious about the Creative Mischief Kits, now would be a great time to check us out, dig a little deeper into what we do, and maybe that prize, above, will be landing on your doorstep in a couple of weeks.

Good luck!

Tuesday Reviews-Day: Spicy Shelf and a GIVEAWAY!

Tuesday Revews-Day

About a month ago Todd and I were standing in our new/old kitchen, pondering where we were going to put our spices. In the last kitchen we used a large rack meant for I’m not sure what, mounted on some free wall space that was convenient to both our main prep area as well as the stove.


Unfortunately, no such space existed in the Dollhouse kitchen, and we had a lot of spices to contend with. Tabling the issue for the time being, I went back into my office and what was waiting for me but an offer to try out the Spicy Shelf and host a giveaway so one of you can try it out as well!


So, the Spicy Shelf is one of those As Seen on TV products that you might have seen on late-night television. Sometimes these products get a bad reputation but we’ve actually used several with positive results, including the Magic Mesh screen “door” on our screened porch! So I was more than willing to give the SpicyShelf a shot since it seemed like the answer to a very pertinent problem.

The pieces ready for assembly...

The pieces ready for assembly… (unintentional “action” shot)

The spicy shelf came with 2 shelves, several extenders, and two different heights of legs for use in cabinets with or without shelf pins.


These are the tabs on the legs and the slots on the brace that keeps the legs from wiggling at the base… as if they could!)


The legs, in fact all of the components, snap together quite well and are shaped so that there’s really only one way to put them together–the right way–and getting them apart again (as I dry-fit the shelves to my cabinet) is pretty tough. All in all, the unit feels pretty stable to me.

Hmmm, not *quite* right. And the instructions made it seem like having one side unsupported by either a wall or another Spicy Shelf was not the best of ideas.

Hmmm, not *quite* right. And the instructions made it seem like having one side unsupported by either a wall or another Spicy Shelf was not the best of ideas.

Now, the width of our chosen cabinet was just wider than the suggested maximum width of a single shelf but was just wide enough to accommodate one skinny Shelf and one shelf with the narrow extenders added to each side. To have some fun, and allow for some of the larger bottles we have, I used one set of tall legs and one set of short.

That's much better!

That’s much better!

And they worked out just right! I could have added another narrow extender but the construction of our cabinets weren’t going to allow it thanks to an interior beam in the right front corner.

It's almost like the display!

Maybe a little fuller than the display, but still quite easy to access!

Of course, I still have far more spices than these were intended to hold, so when everything was in there was still a bit of doubling-up on the bottom rows, but if you’re capable of more editing than I, your kitchen cabinet might look more like the demonstration pictures. It’s still quite easy to access everything and, as advertised, the taller condiment bottles can sit in the middle of the u-shaped shelves to maximize space.

And 2 rows of vinegars/sauces fit in there, too!

And 2 rows of vinegars/sauces fit in there, too!


Is there anything I would change/improve upon the Spicy Shelf? Slightly deeper shelves would be nice for the larger spice bottles and jars. They fit, but having an extra centimeter would make them feel a lot more secure.

That one tiny suggestion aside, I really am glad we got the chance to try out the expandable shelf system and might even order another set to use elsewhere in the house! According to the video on it works well for craft rooms and cosmetics, too. Of course, if you’d like to get a set for yourself, you have two options. First, you can enter the giveaway by guessing how many spice bottles, jars, and canisters I have in the single shelf where my Spicy Shelf resides (this does not include the bottles of vinegars, soy sauce, etc.–just the dry bits). And while you can see some of them in the pictures above, some areas are 2-bottles deep, so it’s still anyone’s guess.

Except me, of course, because I counted them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Use the Rafflecopter widget above to enter. The contest will run for one week (through Monday, August 25th) and I’ll contact the winner on Tuesday, August 26th. The contest is open to US residents only and you’ll need to share your street address with me (no PO Boxes) so that I can pass it along to the shipping agent (the prize will come directly from them, not me).

Of course, if you just cannot wait, you can use promo code SPICE5 (that’s the number 5 at the end, not an ‘s’) over at and get $5 off your own set!

And if you’re curious about what we did with the old spice rack, turns out it just fits in our under-sink cabinets and is now holding rolls of foils and boxes of bags and baggies. Yay for not wasting anything, including space!

A place for everything...

A place for everything…

In case it wasn’t obvious, I was provided a Spicy Shelf for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and no further compensation was received for this post.

Win: Handmade Earrings

Everyday Adventures
Green Goddess Earrings

Green Goddess Earrings

Do you know what April is? It’s my birth-month and as much as I love GETTING gifts, I love GIVING them more. No, really! So in honor of my 35th birthday (on the 30th) I’m giving away some of the handmade jewelry and maybe a couple of other things. There will be 1 giveaway per week. All it takes is a comment to enter!


Remember the earrings I showcased back at the beginning of March?  Well, here’s your chance to win either the Green Goddess or Pearl Drizzle earrings for your very own!

All you have to do is leave a comment on the original post (Pretty Earrings Can Make Even Bad News Sound Good) to be entered in the drawing. And, yes, if you already left a comment on that post, you’re automatically entered!

Pearl Drizzle Earrings

Pearl Drizzle Earrings

I’ll be drawing a winner each Sunday night and announcing it here on Monday, just before announcing the next giveaway. While only one comment per person counts for each giveaway, winning one week does not keep you from entering the next week. The more the merrier and let fate decide, right?

So, head over to the Earrings post and leave a comment by Sunday, April 10, if you haven’t already for your chance to win a little something from me!

We’re Walking and We’re Drawing

64 Arts, Everyday Adventures

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer paraphenaliaFirst a little recap of my weekend: Holy cats but I’ve been more social in the last week than I’ve ever been while at home (vacations are different, of course, they seem to be 100% social… or at least a good 85%).

It started with Thursday night at the Mary Brogan MoAS for VideoCon, followed by Friday night at the Greek Food Festival (there’s a full write-up over on Nibbles) and, finally, the Making Strides Walk Against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday. Whew!

Not that I’m complaining, mind you! Thursday night I hung out with new friends and reconnected with an old friend I hadn’t talked to in 10 years. Friday night was a fantastic date night with Todd with amazing food (we’ve still got pastries left). And Sunday may have been tiring but it was oh-so-rewarding. Our team, tWINs, raised over $2500 and the entire event is up to $120,000 and still climbing! Didn’t get a chance to donate before the walk? Donations for this year’s campaign are being accepted through this week so you still have time. (And I’ll be happy to send you a cocktail print, as a thank you!)


Of course, we have some other business to take care of today… the drawing for the What’s in Your Purse prize!

After extending the entry period throughout the weekend I was so excited to see each of the four entries roll in. We have:

Purse collage

1- Tammy from Not Just Paper and Glue

2- Qedrin from Beautifully You: Makeup by Qedrin

3- Jenny from Kerrfect

4- Tori from The Circus Serene

Now, how to pick the winner? I considered going old-school and placing everyone’s name in a spare purse and drawing the winner. Then I considered going more high-tech and using the dice roller on my cell phone. Neither one really seemed right to me, though. So I split it down the middle–I used my personal random number generator: Todd.

His instructions were to pick a number from 1 to 4 (inclusive), without knowing what he was even picking it for.

And he chose….


Congratulations, Jenny, email me your address and I’ll get your prize out to you, soon. (It’s still being put together–both literally and figuratively!)

What’s In Your Purse?

64 Arts

For the last several years almost all of my purses have been big and red and from Liz Claiborne. Not that I pay department store prices, or even retail! I find them at places like Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Bealls Outlet and pay half (or less) of the usual price. There’s just something about a show-stopper red purse that can carry whatever I need and look fabulous doing it. Plus, it matches pretty much everything by needing to match absolutely nothing!

As promised, here’s what was inside my purse as of Monday evening:

What's in My Purse?

What's in My Purse?

Clockwise from the upper left corner:

  1. Tome of Runes (my first illustration credit–it came in last week and I’ve been carrying it around because I’m just so tickled it’s done!)
  2. Monthly planner (stuffed with store coupons in case I feel like shopping) and postage stamps (yes, I mail things–not bills, though, that’s what online banking is for!)
  3. My Red Notebook (everything from budgets to project notes to podcast playlists–it’s my life and I go through one a year, always red)
  4. Travel Amulet
  5. iPod (in red case… are we sensing a theme, here?), charger and ear buds
  6. Calculator and 6 pens (I highly suspect at least one is dead or broken)
  7. Prescription sunglasses
  8. A sash from the skirt I wore 2 weeks ago
  9. Ginger pills and Lactaid tablets
  10. Wallet, smaller card case, coin purse and passport
  11. Umbrella holding down a stack of store receipts
  12. Keys and a separate ring of those store scanner tabs
  13. Nail file, tweezers, compact, 5 lip glosses (3 tinted, 2 clear) and 3 hair clips (that’s where they all went!)

The only thing not pictured is my cell phone–when I’m home it’s usually on my computer desk or on it’s charger.

Now, who else played along?



Whoever thought it’d be so difficult to give stuff away!

But, hey, it’s my giveaway and I’m going to give it another try. That’s right, I’m extending the deadline.

You have until Sunday, October 24, 2010, at 8pm Eastern do the following:

  1. Dump everything out of your purse (arranging it nicely is optional)
  2. Take a picture of it
  3. Upload the picture to some public place (your blog, Facebook, Flickr, etc.) and leave me the link in the comments OR email it to me at

See, it really is that simple. And I’ll pick one purse photo at random of those submitted and the owner of that purse will win a prize that I will mail to you. It will be purse-themed. It will be a mix of store-bought and hand-crafted items. You will either love it or decide it would make the perfect regift for the neighbor/teacher/co-worker at some point in the upcoming holidays, thus saving you a shopping trip–that parts up to you.

Now, go find that camera!